Don Short Bio
Born and raised in western North Dakota, Don Short attended the University of North Dakota and graduated in 1985. From there, he joined the family business, Taylor’s Maid-Rite in Marshalltown, Iowa, a fast food chain famous in the Midwest for their loose meat sandwiches. Around this time, Don started purchasing and restoring homes; including the 10,000-square-foot Willard Mansion in Marshalltown, Iowa. Both Don’s parents and grandparents built their own homes using reclaimed and recycled architectural pieces so it was no surprise when Don followed in their footsteps.
In 2004, Don left the family restaurant business and began devoting himself full-time to the work he loves; renovating classic homes in and around Des Moines. Using vintage and salvaged pieces, Don was able to restore these often-neglected buildings back to their original beauty. At the end of each restoration, Don was left with a multitude of odds and ends, and soon his storage unit was overflowing with a treasure trove of salvaged items. On a whim, he hosted a tag sale to clear out some space. To his surprise, the sale was so successful that he had another one the following weekend, and the weekend after that, and he just never stopped.
In 2006, Don moved the business into a 50,000 square foot warehouse on the edge of downtown Des Moines, and West End Architectural Salvage was born. Today, the five-story warehouse is a virtual museum of mid-western items, furniture, architectural salvage pieces and interesting artifacts from all across the country. West End Architectural Salvage is a complete shopping experience with a coffee shop, wine bar and workshop where Don’s team restores and builds custom furniture, artwork and unique pieces out of anything imaginable.